During a game of drunken Truth or Dare in college, my friends and I decided that the best course of action was to go around the room talking about our sexual fantasies. By the time it was my turn, we’d already heard from everyone including Matt, my friend Matthias’s roommate. He’d spun some elaborate tale I hadn’t followed involving some older woman that he’d screwed in the pool room of the hotel he’d worked, but he had shifty eyes so I totally didn’t believe him. I was beyond loaded, so I couldn’t figure out why the room was looking at me expectantly.
When they nudged me to speak, I slurred out, “I…dunnooo…I just….like…sex?” In hindsight, I should have kept my whore mouth firmly shut.
Whether it was that drunken proclamation, punctuated by stabbing myself in the leg with a lit cigarette or that I’d said “hello” to him when I walked into the apartment, I can’t be sure, but I made a grave error in judgement. While the rest of the room rolled their eyes and laughed at me being a drunk asshole, Matt fell deep into..something with me.
I must have made quite the impression that night, because the following weekend when we were both in our hometown I got a phone call from him. It seemed that he wanted to meet up that evening for dinner. Being that I was in town to see my family, I politely declined and he hung up on me angrily. What I didn’t realize was that I was about to unleash an unholy shit storm neatly atop my own oblivious head.
I’ve since gotten better about reading people, but at the time, I was pretty naive and mistook his shifty eyes for “needing to replace his contacts” not “being a fucking psychopath.” Bad move, Aunt Becky, bad move. By the time I crawled back to my shoebox of a dorm on Sunday night, my roommate looked at me somewhat wide-eyed and said, “Someone named ‘Matt’ has been calling you every ten minutes for the past three hours. He won’t leave a message but he’s kinda creeping me out because he gets mad every time I tell him you’re not here.” Well, fuck.
The following week, I began to receive reports of Matt hanging around our dorm and the phone calls continued unrelentingly. Finally the following week, I stumbled blearily out of the dooms with the throngs of other students making their way to 9AM classes, when I saw Matt hanging out by the gigantic fountain that we called The Ashtray. He was scanning the crowd intently, clearly looking for someone and I kept my head down and managed to walk right past him without him noticing me. When I returned from class, I saw him there again. He caught my eye and trapped in his line of sight, I walked up to him. He asked if I wanted to get lunch, and I told him the truth, I had other plans, and rather than accept that gracefully, he stomped away, angry.
I stood there for a couple of moments, dumbfounded. Certainly, I wasn’t going to date him, but I would have been his friend, jagged edges and all, before that little tantrum. After that stunt, however, absolutely not. I found out that he’d harassed all of the people that had been at the party about what a horrible bitch I was.
A couple of nights later, I called over to Matthias’s apartment in search of Matthias, and Matt answered the phone. Rather than call him out on his bad behavior, I figured it was best to pretend that the entire situation hadn’t happened, so I simply asked if Matthias was home. Recognizing my voice, he growled, “NO!” into the phone and hung it up without so much as asking if he could take a message.
Well, then. I’d had enough. I turned to the dorm room which was full of my friends and said, “Fucker just hung up on me.”
Outraged, and knowing that Matt had been a jackass to both Matthias—who wouldn’t hurt a fly—and me, who really didn’t deserve the anger, we hatched a plan. We didn’t get mad, we got even. My friend Pashmina acted first.
She grabbed the phone, dialed the number and when Matt answered, she said very sweetly, “Hi Matt, it’s Pashmina, you know, Matthias’s friend? Well, I was calling to see if Matthias was home. We were going out and wanted to see if he could come with us to the coffee shop…” On and on she droned about her boring plans. Eventually, she hung up the phone and handed it to James, who dialed the number.
“Hi, this is James. Is Matthias there? I was calling to invite him to study with me in the library for our history midterm and I know he likes to study with a partner…” on and on James went about his plans for the evening. Eventually he hung up, passing the phone to Pashmina’s roommate, Marcy. This continued no less than eight times. Each of us, calling with some long-winded, rambling story about why we needed to see Matthias and what we were doing and blah, blah, blah. It must have been excruciating for him to listen to.
What can I say? My friends love me. More importantly, my friends also know a good time when they see it.
After we all had made our calls to Matt, we sat around smoking our cigarettes and nursing our tall rum and Cokes looking at each other and laughing at our ingeniousness. There was no way Matt would be bothering any of us again because we were too fucking annoying. If he was childish, we could beat him at that game.
About half an hour after the last phone call, one by one, we all called Matt back, telling him not to have Matthias call us, after all, because, wouldn’t you know it? PLANS HAD CHANGED. I think after the third or fourth phone call, he finally took the phone off the hook. I can’t believe it took him that long.
After that, though, we all noticed that Matt would deliberately go out of his way to avoid all of us when we’d cross paths on campus. If he’d spy me walking his way, he’d walk across the quad so as not to accidentally sideswipe me.
I’d suddenly gone from hot ticket to plague-bearer and I couldn’t have been happier.